House Republicans who have served in the military are urging the Joint Chiefs of Staff to seek legal guidance before following any orders from the President Obama to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States
In letter Monday, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan) and 15 of his veteran colleagues, told the Joint Chiefs to seek appropriate legal advice, prior to executing any order from the president.
“It is of great concern to us that President Obama may be considering ordering a transfer of detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay to the United States via executive order,” their letter said. “It is our view that such an order, if given, would violate legislation that the President signed into law prohibiting the use of Department of Defense funds for such a purpose.”
Under the National Defense Authorization Act, which the president is expected to sign soon, detainees can’t be transferred into the United States, Libya, Somalia, Syria or Yemen. Obama supporters, however, argue that Article II of the Constitution gives the president the legal authority to decide not only where to put troops, but also where to hold prisoners, a claim Republicans reject.
“As the urgency of the threat presented by Islamic extremism grows, we cannot afford to have the commander-in-chief issue executive orders in direct contravention of laws that he enacted,” Pompeo said in a statement. “I encourage the Joint Chiefs of Staff carry out an exhaustive legal review before implementing any executive order transferring these dangerous terrorists to the United States. In the words of John Adams, ‘We are a government of laws, not men,’ and the express will of Congress should prevail over the express will of one man.”
With Pompeo, Monday’s letter was signed by Reps. Brian Babin (Texas), Jim BridenstineJim BridenstineA guide to the committees: House Jim Bridenstine for NASA administrator Congress asserts itself MORE (R-Okla.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordA guide to the committees: House Why a bill about catfish will show whether Ryan's serious about regulatory reform Convention calendar: Parties and events MORE (R-Ark.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Peter King (R-NY), Pete Olson (R-Texas), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Don YoungDon YoungA guide to the committees: House Trump, GOP set to battle on spending cuts Alaska lawmakers mull legislation to block Obama drilling ban MORE (R-Alaska) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.).